Following State Government funding of $1.64 million to enable CareFlight to operate 24/7, the organisation is hiring 10 extra staff and is considering an upgrade to its helicopter. Premier Anna Bligh made the announcement while visiting CareFlight’s Toowoomba operation with Member for Toowoomba North Kerry Shine.
“I am now aware CareFlight is investigating upgrading to a helicopter which can fly longer distances. An upgraded chopper would also carry two patients instead of one and would be equipped with a hoist to enable patients to be winched out of difficult terrain.
“CareFlight has already hired four extra staff including pilots and air crew and is planning to recruit a further six extra staff including pilots, air crew and casual doctors. “CareFlight begins operating seven days a week from this Saturday.
Once these new staff members have been recruited and trained, CareFlight will move to a 24-hours-a-day operation – in about two to three months. This boost in a life-saving service will make a real difference to the region especially with the growth we are expecting,” Ms Bligh said.
Member for Toowoomba North Kerry Shine, who campaigned strongly for the funding boost, said he was impressed with CareFlight’s implementation planning. “Once the state government support was announced, CareFlight really hit the ground running. Ihe people of the region will take great comfort in the fact that day or night CareFlight will be there when they are needed.” Mr Shine said.
CareFlight CEO Ashley Van de Velde said the communities to be serviced by CareFlight were very supportive. “We are a not-for-profit organisation and it’s only through the support of our sponsors and now the State Government that we can offer this enhanced service to the region,” Mr Van de Velde said.
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